Standing in the middle of the court, the national anthem beams out in a wave of national pride. Wearing his green and gold, Jason Cadee reminisces that this has always been his dream and it still burns within him.
Having received his first call-up to represent his country almost a decade ago, the point guard spoke with The Pick and Roll about what it meant to him leading into the next window of FIBA World Cup Qualifiers this weekend against Iran and then Qatar.
“It was unexpected!” recalled Cadee, whose youthful exuberance emerged as he revisited his first taste of the Boomers program.
“I was eighteen years old – so a kid I guess – and I remember thinking that somebody was trying to play a prank on me. To be able to wear that green and gold while singing the anthem is one of the coolest feelings you’ll ever have.
“Also with the group we have had for the past few years, since the Asian Cup, it has been great because it is such a close and fun group. We always love coming in and being around each other and it almost feels like a club team because we are around each other so much and we really enjoy playing together.
“Straight up however it’s tough, it’s not easy to just roll between club and representative commitments but the enjoyment and passion of being around this squad and playing for Australia makes it so worthwhile. A huge part of this Boomers squad is that enjoyment we have of heading into camp and working with each other to win.”
Cadee also expressed as to how having Andrej Lemanis as his Brisbane Bullets coach – as well as his Boomers coach – only added greater dimensions to his game and at training.
“In making that huge decision to leave the city I grew up in [Sydney], it was all about going out of my comfort zone and taking on that challenge. From an athlete’s point of view I was very excited to be able to enter a new team, a new system and start to build something with Brisbane that leads to championships – for me that’s the biggest thing as I want to win and that’s what it is all about. That is my aim with the Boomers also.
“The first time this year that we went into a qualifying window it was kind of odd as the Bullets run different plays compared to the Boomers – so I had to remind myself of those certain aspects. I have always had great experiences with him, love playing for him and I am looking forward to building on that relationship.”
With a large contingent of Boomers currently playing internationally – including Patty Mills, Ben Simmons, Aron Baynes and Joe Ingles – who are all likely to returning to play in the marquee tournaments we discussed what Cadee’s individual goals were, which could lead to securing a major tournament spot in the future.
“Our first goal is to ensure we make the World Champs and at the end of the day that’s up to us. At the end of the day we need to do the best for our country and that is up to us. Put yourself in the best position to play for that Boomers squad and I think I have done that under Andrej and the great coaching staff we have.”
Discussion quickly turned to the players and teammates who had taught him valuable lessons, especially with regard to adapting his game.
“There has been a number of guys obviously who have really taught me a lot,” Cadee would outline. “There is a guy who I was with when I was a lot younger who I luckily get to play with again at the Bullets, and that is Adam Gibson. He did a lot for me as a kid and I still learn from him now and he has been massive for me throughout my career – as a friend and a teammate.
“The last few years somebody who is a really good friend of mine and somebody who I really have learnt from is Kevin Lisch. I really love playing with him and when we go on Boomers duty he is my roommate and it’s always great to be back around him. He is one guy that I really watch how he impacts games and I think that is one thing I have taken on board. There may be nights when your shooting is poor, but he shows that there are so many other ways to impact a game and turn it in your favour week in and week out.”
Cadee is always looking to adapt his game so that he can be relied on by his teammates and coaching staff. Over his career he has evolved his game to ensure he remains competitive and a positive contributor on the floor. He concluded with the advice that he has stood by throughout his career so far, and is not looking to slow down any time soon.
“Consistency and the people you are around are huge,” exclaimed Cadee. “I find by surrounding myself with really great people who are there for me rather than based on their own reasons has been key for me throughout my career and is something I am so thankful for.”
Cadee will take to the floor of Margaret Court Arena against Iran on Friday, 30 November and again on Monday, 3 December against Qatar. With a single victory in either game, the Boomers will qualify for the 2019 FIBA World Cup with Cadee running the point.